One Very Simple Trick to Help You Reach Financial Independence Easily (but slowly)

Financial Independence, Personal Finance / Friday, January 19th, 2018

simple trick calcualtorIsn’t that the most click-bait title ever? Maybe that’s my evil plan…

Obviously, making six figures or a million dollars annual income would be the easiest way. Not much of a trick required for that case – just some food for thought.

But seriously. There really is one simple thing everyone can do, regardless of income or ability. If the person lacked the ability, they could easily learn and improve on it through a little effort.I know, just get to the point and spill the “beans“…

So what is this one secret that the Illuminati do not want you to know? One of the simplest ways to reach financial independence is by cooking your own damn food. Really!!!!

What the hell? That was the reveal?

I already know what you’re thinking – “that’s no secret and it’s obvious”. Is it though? Many people have money literally leaking like a colander just by constantly eating out and buying unnecessary designer drinks. This is all simply because they don’t make it themselves.

Let’s Role-play a Bit

Let’s go through the numbers of an imaginary person who doesn’t pack a lunch to work and also eats out a couple of times a week. We’ll even calculate at the low end of things, just to keep it simple.

Cost of an average lunch: $8-$15 (I would say this is pretty standard as even a McDonald’s combo is around $8)

$8 per lunch x 5 work days = $40 weekly

The average amount of working days in a year is about 240 days after factoring in holidays and weekends with some PTO.

$8 per lunch x 240 days = $1,920 yearly

Keep in mind that this is on the low end. If this was calculated on the higher end of $15 per lunch, it
would be $3,600 just for lunch! We might have not even factored in tips or drinks yet.

Hold down, it’s not over yet. It doesn’t just end there. The person will probably eat out a couple of
times for dinner during the week too. Maybe several times. Let’s keep going down that rabbit hole.

Let’s assume the person eats out 2-3 times for dinner a week. That’s a safe assumption for a
person eating out every day for lunch. Let’s make it easier and say 2.5 times per week and an average dinner costing at least $20 (since dinner cost more and tipping – even for takeout).

2.5 per week x $20 per dinner = $50 weekly
$50 weekly dinners x 52 weeks = $2,600.00

At this point, we are up to almost 5k yearly in just eating out for the weekdays FOR 1 PERSON on the low end!

…We Are Not Done Yet!

Oh now, we get to the weekend. Meet up with friends here and there, getting some drinks or some take out. I would estimate this imaginary person would spend $60 per weekend. Not hard to imagine considering that a meal could be $20, a coffee or a tea that’s $5 and a dinner for $30.

$60 per weekend x 52 weekends = $3,120

Now we are up to $7,640 yearly on the low end, just to eat out. Now factor in your significant other and that doubles to $15,280 yearly. On the high end, who knows what’s the upper limit, especially for higher income earners.

Hidden Costs?

There are hidden costs too from eating out. Let’s be honest, eating out isn’t the most healthy. Most
things are either high in fat or sodium to give it flavor. Who knows what the prolonged health costs
are? We all know health insurance and going to the hospital is expensive, so why would we purposely put crap into our bodies?

Another hidden cost is fuel. You have to drive to either pick it up or pay delivery costs.

Enough ranting of the negatives, but what you can actually do about it. No trick needed.

Don’t know how to cook at all?

No problem!You have the ultimate resource at your fingertips – the internet. Limitless recipes and even meal planning guides. If you ever need further instructions for step by step instructions, go to Youtube. You’ll be surprised how fast you can whip up a meal with minimum planning after learning the basics.

home kitchen in shadows
Need inspiration for what to cook?

You can also make it like a challenge (Iron Chef Style) in replicating a dish you’ve eaten at a restaurant you love and see if you can make a superior dish. My girlfriend and I are often so disappointed in dining out now, since many times, we can create dishes that are superior.

Try making something entirely different from scratch or use leftovers and see what you can come up with!

What tools do you need to start?

Not much actually and many of the items you will use over and over.

  • Get a good chef’s knife and stop there.

Don’t buy more knives unless you become very skilled. I recommend a Global brand knife. If you take care of it, it will last you a lifetime. You can take it back to certain stores to get it professionally sharpened – like Sur-la-Table.

  • Another item to get is a butcher’s block.

Instead of looks, go for functionality. Make sure it can lay flat of have little plastic knobs on the bottom to keep it in place. You do not want this thing to wiggle and slip around while you are dicing and slicing. Having a sharp knife and a stable chopping surface is paramount for safety.

  • Get a non-stick work.

In terms of a pan, I would get something versatile like a non-stick wok. You literally could use it for
everything. Use it with a wooden spatula so you don’t scratch off the non-stick coating.

  • Seasoning and spices galore?

You can’t go wrong with salt and pepper to start. Hell, just use the ones from the restaurants if you’re too cheap to buy any. (cough, In and Out Burger). Soy sauce will be your best friend as well.

You’re fancy now. What else to get?

Let’s say you’re a more experienced chef. What else can you get to improve or allow shortcuts? #1 thing I will recommend is getting an Instant Pot. This thing is definitely worth the price alone in me not having to soak beans. This thing will pressure cook everything fast and help infuse flavors into your food. You could steam, bake and pressure cook everything in this quickly.

Another fancy gadget I would recommend is getting is an air fryer. I recommend the Phillips brand as they seem to be the most reliable. It will get your food crispy using convention heat without oil and be making a huge mess. You can make potato wedges super easily without a huge cleanup.

Lastly, what to get as ingredients?

Get stables in bulk when it’s on sale (rice, beans, flour, etc) – things that will keep and can go with
everything. Try to buy produce that is in season as it will be fresher and cheaper. Get to know your local butcher and they will hook you up with the best cuts at cheap prices. Farmer’s market is also a good place to check out if it’s available in your area.Look out for specials (that are actually specials) and double coupon days. Otherwise, try shopping at your local ethnic food stores – sometimes, their prices are dirt cheap, better quality and you can discover new ingredients.

Now Get Cooking…More Benefits!!!

More hidden benefits of cooking for yourself (besides pride and health) is that when you actually do eat out, you’ll actually appreciate it as a rare treat and a special occasion. Knowing how to cook is also just so sexy (just ask my girlfriend when she is eating my food).

Let’s say even if a couple spends 9-10k a year eating, really, really well by buying the best groceries. They could invest the difference of around 6k a year and invested it in a tax advantage retirement account @ 7% return.

chart showing interest
Potential 600k savings from cooking your own meal? Hell yeah!

Literally, eating your way to retirement!

Godspeed on your journey of being the master-chef in your household! (and pocketing the savings and investing it) Take pride in your ability to cook food!


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4 Replies to “One Very Simple Trick to Help You Reach Financial Independence Easily (but slowly)”

  1. Coincidence! I just replied to your comment at my blog with a rant about my husband’s food. And then came here to check you out, and this is the first entry that grabs my attention! Going through your entries now. Loved reading them.

    1. My social media game is still pretty weak right now – still learning my way around with the blogging thing. Sometimes, I don’t know if I am just writing to myself.

      Anyways, your article about your 9 year old having a higher savings rate cracked me up.

      1. Have you signed up at Rockstar Finance? If you haven’t, do it now. They have a directory of personal finance bloggers, and a feed with latest posts. I get good traffic from there.

        I also signed up for a course on making Pinterest images, and for tailwind, which automatically posts to Pinterest. I have affiliate link that will give you a bit off. Let me know if you are interested. I do recommend both. I started getting some traffic via Pinterest that way.

        Also sign up for Google analytics if you haven’t. That way you will know where are people coming from, what they are reading, and for how long they stay.

        I am still figuring things out, but feel free to shoot me an email if you have any other questions.

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